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Insteon Dual Band / RF Phase Bridging 101

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  • Chris Fox
    Great document! One minor note: not all PLMs are dual band. You still have the option of buying non dual-band PLMs. I remember reading that the non dual-band was "faster" when it came to sending/receiving signals. I don't know if it is really true, but something to consider...


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  • pbibm
    started a topic Insteon Dual Band / RF Phase Bridging 101

    Insteon Dual Band / RF Phase Bridging 101

    This is documentation. I am requesting comments. Also, I recommend it as a "Sticky" once it is reviewed / updated.

    I recently went through baptism by fire buying insteon devices that were switches and dual band to support rf phase bridging. One of the features of Insteon is that it can create an rf (radio) based bridge across your house's phases, avoiding physical modifications to your electrical panel. It also can provide a radio bridge into bad signal areas of your house.

    There are recommendations from Insteon/Smarthome on how to do it, but the recommendations tell you to buy two standalone phase bridges. If you're using HomeSeer and the PLM, it most likely is not necessary to buy two. In some cases, a switch can be the second one.

    Here are some rules to use in evaluating what you need:

    Rule #1: You only need 2 dual band rf devices when there is good signal. The 2413 Insteon PLM is one of those devices. See post #3 for more info
    There are several ways to do it. If you have a PLM, it is alread a dual band device and you need just one more dual band device to create a phase bridge in your house. Alternatively, you can buy one phase bridge to use with the PLM. The trick here is that you only need one phase bridge. Both devices need to be arranged on opposite phases and not blocked from rf (eg behind a furnace and ducts)
    Rule #2: The second device can be a dual band switch.
    Though expensive, dual band switches can save having the separate phase bridge "wall wart" out in view. It also ends up being a little cheaper than buying the components separately.

    However, if the switch has to go in a metal box (older homes), this should not be your second dual band device. The metal will block the signal. Do your homework by removing the cover plate of the installation location and inspecting before deciding ordering.

    The other limitation is the that switch will be installed on whatever phase it is on. The PLM might have to be moved to another outlet to create a bridge
    Rule #3. Validate that the switch you are ordering is really dual band
    There are good deals on Amazon, but sometimes the seller copies and pastes. Not all switches/keypadlincs are dual band. Do your homework and look it up on smarthomes site. This link is a switch model comparison, including dual band designation
    Rule #5 Make sure rf bridging its working.
    Below is the procedure from Inteon to bridge phases with any dual band devices. The directions are from a Dual Band Keypadlinc, but its the same for all dual band devices. You have to have added the device to your Insteon configuration, wiring it without adding will not work. It can take a few tries to get the procedure to work. Be patient and keep at it.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by mnsandler; May 27, 2012, 01:59 PM.